The O'Brien Summer School

In 2014, Ireland commemorated the millennium of the death of its famous first national monarch, High King Brian Boru. The public events surrounding this brought Irish history and heritage into the limelight and sparked the imaginations and interests of the many thousands of people who enjoyed participating in them. 

Building on the clear interest of the public in Ireland’s past , The O’Brien Summer School (TOBSS) is an educational initiative to make Irish history and heritage more readily accessible to all. Founded by Patrons Lord James and Lady Cheryl O’Brien, TOBSS is supported by a Management Group comprising Lord Inchiquin, Chief of the Name, Conor O’BrienProfessor David Ditchburn, Head of the Medieval History Research Group at Trinity College, Dublin; Moira O’Brien, Board Member of the O’Brien Clan Foundation and Professor Howard Clarke, University College, Dublin.

TOBSS organises non-profit events on an ad hoc basis, each event themed around an era or aspect or geographical centre of Irish history. Events normally include both a series of talks and an expert-guided field tour to local sites of historic interest.

The long term aim is also to build synergy between all in Ireland who invest effort into historical matters, including career and hobby historians, heritage access providers, cultural tourism promoters, teachers, students and the general public - to add value to the common understanding of Ireland's extraordinary past and to publish where suitable.

The inaugural TOBSS event was its First International Symposium, covering ‘The Era of King Brian Boru, 10th-11th centuries’. This took place on 2-3 July 2016 in Killaloe, County Clare, the historic birthplace of King Brian Boru and home to his court. The event included talks from eight renowned experts in the field, an expert-guided field trip to local sites relating to King Brian Boru, a reception and a 'Brian Boru BBQ' with traditional Irish music and medieval mummery. We are currently working on making available on this website, on a pay-to-access basis, full audio recordings of all the presentations made at the First International Symposium.

TOBSS Mission

The O'Brien Summer School (TOBSS) has been founded to bring Irish history alive and make it easily accessible to all. People from around the world flock to Ireland's ancient castles, kiss the Blarney Stone and marvel at the Celtic spirit still evident in so many ways. Many have a keen layman's interest in the history of Ireland, but access to a more informed appreciation of Ireland's extraordinary past is limited. 

Academics, archaeologists and local historians constantly uncover fresh wonders and extend our knowledge of the past, but most of their findings remain little known outside of academic circles and historical societies. 

The O'Brien Summer School (TOBSS) aims to bridge the gap between interest and understanding, offering an opportunity for all those fascinated by or already studying history to come together in one place for two days to learn from internationally renowned academic historians, local historians and others knowledgeable about Ireland's heritage, bringing the Celtic legacy alive in a novel and refreshing way.

TOBSS events will appeal to all who wish to understand Irish history better - history students, academics, historical society members, re-enactment enthusiasts, college and school teachers, cultural enthusiasts and members of the public who enjoy continued learning opportunities - all can benefit from the unique forum for presentations, field trips and social activities offered by TOBSS.

Register your interest in receiving emails about future TOBSS events by emailing TOBSS now at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.